The A-Z (Australia-Zoffany) of Coolmore’s 2016 Stud Fees..

This is the time of year in which studs announce their 2016 fees. In the coming weeks, I will consider the prices announced by the major operators and whether they match my idea of value. In the words of Warren Buffett “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”. I will begin with Europe’s dominant player, Coolmore.

Stallion 2016 fee (2015 fee)
Australia €50,000 (€50,000)- (2011 by Galileo ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross)
Verdict: I thought that there might have been a slight reduction in his second year but obviously they are confident demand will remain strong. Australia has everything you would want in a prospective stallion being a superior Derby winner out of an outstanding Oaks winner so difficult to really quibble with his fee.

Camelot €25,000 (€25,000)- (2009 by Montjeu ex Tarfah by Kingmambo)

Verdict: His reputation when he went to stud was a long way removed from what it was for most of his racing career. He was narrowly denied the honour of being the first triple crown winner since Nijinsky by Encke a horse who was subsequently caught up in the Mahmood Al Zarooni steroid scandal.  On that basis you could argue that he represents good value, however to date Montjeu’s sons are more miss than hit, and he seems fully priced.

Canford Cliffs €17,500 (€12,500) (2007- Tagula ex Mrs Marsh by Marju)

Verdict: A good season with his first two years olds has seen him deliver plenty of winners (30 to date) and a good sprinkling of quality as well with two group winners in Painted Cliffs and Most Beautiful and a Listed winner in Aktoria. His sales results were unexceptional to date and I’m not sure his runners have done enough on the track to justify the increase.

Excelebration €15,000 (€17,500): (2008 Exceed and Excel ex Sun Shower by Indian Ridge)

Verdict: . A superb miler who was unfortunate to live in the era of Frankel. Excelebration’s fee has dropped slightly each year and his sales medians are unremarkable. Will have his first runners in 2016 so using him involves a punt on their likely performance.

Fastnet Rock Private (did not shuttle) (2001 Danehill ex Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy)

Verdict: Had a good season with three Group 1 winners in Qualify, Fascinating Rock and Diamondsandrubies and a promising two year old in Turret Rocks. To me his overall European record is still modest given the quality of mares he covered in his first few seasons  His last reported European fee was €30000 in 2011 and despite his recovery this season I wouldn’t pay more than half that for him and I doubt very much Coolmore would trade at anything like that price.

Footstepsinthesand €10,000 (€10,000) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)

Verdict: Has stood at this level for a number of years. Commercially is facing a decline in popularity as new kids arrive on the block.  A reasonable stallion but wouldn’t be high on a wish list of stallions at that price.

Galileo Private Private (1998 Sadler’s Wells ex Urban Sea by Miswaki)

Verdict: For much of the season it seemed he was going to be usurped by Dubawi in the race for the title of European champion sire. However in the end it proved another remarkable year for Galileo who sired an incredible 10 Group or Grade 1 winners. His fee is rumoured to be around the 300k mark and although you could never say that such a fee represents a bargain it can certainly be justified.

Gleneagles €60,000 NEW (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).

Verdict: A dual guineas winner, first past the post in 5 Group 1’s and out of a full sister to Giant’s Causeway- what is there not to like? Well firstly his career ended in two underwhelming performances in the QE2 at Ascot and in an overly optimistic attempt at the Breeders Cup Classic. In addition the failure to run him from June to October using the ground as an excuse gave rise to a suspicion that he wasn’t quite the superstar his connections had described him as being.  To me his fee is too rich and I would have expected at most a 45k fee. Given the choice of unproven stallion sons of Galileo, I’d opt for Australia over Gleneagles at their respective prices.

Henrythenavigator €7,500 (€15,000) (2005 Kingmambo ex Sequoyah by Sadler’s Wells)

Verdict: A better horse than Gleneagles but his fee has come down from an initial $65000 (when he stood at Ashford) to next year’s €7,500.  The reason for the decline is simply the lack of sufficient quality offspring (c. 1% stakes winners!). His two year olds of 2016 will have been conceived from a 30k covering fee so he might show a small rebound but all aspects of his career to date show him to be a poor stallion that you could not recommend.

Holy Roman Emperor €17,500 (€20,000) (2004 Danehill ex L’On Vite by Secretariat)

Verdict: Had a very quiet year on the track in Europe and is proving to be an inconsistent sire. His fee deserved a bigger reduction than the one he received. His yearling averages held up well in 2015 but the market may not be so forgiving if 2016 does not prove more rewarding on the track.

Ivawood €9,000 NEW (2012 Zebedee ex Keenes Royale by Red Ransom)

Verdict: Really! Zebedee has had his fee reduced to €8000 and although this guy was classic placed and was the most expensive Zebedee yearling, his overall record shows that he never won after July of his two year old days and was beaten in his final 7 runs. His fellow Coolmore stallions should be insulted by his presence on the roster 🙂

Kingston Hill €6,000 NEW (2011 Mastercraftsman ex Audacieuse by Rainbow Quest)

Verdict: Unfortunate in that injury kept him off the track in 2015. Winner of the Racingpost Trophy at two, runner up to Australia in the Derby, winner of the St Leger and a close up fourth to Treve in the Arc. Ironically if he hadn’t won the St Leger his fee would probably be higher. His overall pedigree is unexceptional but given his quality as a racehorse I wouldn’t quibble with his fee.
Mastercraftsman €35,000 (€40,000) (2006 Danehill Dancer ex Starlight Dreams by Black Tie Affair)

Verdict: A stellar first crop saw him provide two classic winners in 2015 in Kingston Hill and The Grey Gatsby.  Amazing Maria become the third Group 1 winner to emerge from that crop when she notched a Group 1 double in 2016. Nothing comparable emerged from his subsequent crops to reach the track which explains the reduction in fee. Still has a few crops conceived at much lower fees to work their way through the system so might be quiet for a period, before his better bred crops emerge.

Most Improved €4,000 (€5,000) (2009 Lawman ex Tonnara by Linamix)

Verdict:  Although he won a St James Palace Stakes this guy must be a hard sell even for the Coolmore marketing team. A modest fee for a modest performer.

No Nay Never €17,500 (€20,000) (2011 Scat Daddy ex Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality)

Verdict: A big powerful precocious two year old who dominated his contemporaries in the Norfolk Stakes and the Prix Morny. To be fair he also showed useful form at three including when runner up in a Breeders Cup Sprint Turf. His sire Scat Daddy had a very good year in 2015 and his fee has been hiked from $35000 to $100000. Regardless its a no nay never from me at the quoted fee.
Pour Moi €10,000 (€12,500) (2008 Montjeu ex Gwynn by Darshaan)

Verdict: Interesting at the price but still not quite cheap enough to represent value. The expectation was that he was not going to sire two year olds so it was a bonus that he sired a nice Listed winner in Only Mine, however it is a decision for the brave to invest for next year.

Power €8,000 (€8,000) (2009 Oasis Dream ex Frappe by Inchinor)

Verdict:
Attractively priced for a Group 1 winning two year old who went on to win an Irish 2000 Guineas and comes from a strong family. I’d certainly use him over Ivawood.

Requinto €5,000 (€4,000) (Dansili ex Damson by Entrepreneur)

Verdict: Was an unusual Dansili in being so speedy and precocious (just like his dam). I have a prejudice against atypical sons of stallions so that puts me off him and I’m not sure what he did to justify an increase in fee for his fourth season

.Rip Van Winkle €12,500 (€25,000) (2006 Galileo ex Looking Brill by Stravinsky)

Verdict: Interestingly he remains the second highest rated son of Galileo after Frankel. Had a Group 1 winner in his first crop with Dick Whittington but had a very quiet year in 2015. Seems destined for export unless things change quickly in 2016.
Rock Of Gibraltar €10,000 (€12,500) (1999 Danehill ex Offshore Boom by Be My Guest)

Verdict: Overall record is modest given the opportunities he received. Has had his moments as a sire but not enough to still warrant a 10k fee.

Ruler Of The World €10,000 (€15,000) (2010 Galileo ex Love Me True by Kingmambo)

Verdict: A beautifully bred Derby winner who finished close up in a Champion Stakes. Being a half brother to the now South African based Duke of Marmalade is also starting to look like a positive after Duke of Marmalade had a good season in Europe. Obviously his merit is still unknown but he is competitively priced given his pedigree and performance.

So You Think €12,500 (€12,500) (High Chapparal ex Triassic by Tights)

Verdict: A big beast of a horse but hard to argue with 10 Group 1’s between Europe and Australia. I didn’t think much of High Chaparral as a sire and the Australian side of his pedigree will be unfamiliar to many here but did enough as a racehorse to justify his fee at least until his runners hit the track.

Starspangledbanner €15,000 (25,000)  (2006 Choisir ex Gold Anthem by Made of Gold

Verdict: A quality sprinter on two continents and a very good first crop of two year olds. Didn’t have a similar impact with his current two year olds and some of the initial fanfare has faded. Also suffers from fertility issues so that will dissuade some mare owners but his fee probably reflects the additional risks.

War Command €15,000 (€15,000) (War Front ex Wandering Star by Red Ransom)

Verdict: An impressive Coventry winner and subsequent Dewhurst winner but one who disappointed at three. The War Front bandwagon rolls on, so commercially you can see how he would appeal.
Zoffany €45,000 (€12,500) (2008 Dansili ex Tyranny by Machiavellian)

Verdict: Probably surprised even his biggest supporters at Coolmore when he landed a Royal Ascot treble with Waterloo Bridge, Washington DC and Illuminate. Champion first season sire and plenty of runners who look like they will train on including Royal Lodge winner Foundation . Its a huge fee increase but you can’t say he didn’t deserve it.

Blind Optimism

I recently purchased a half share in a one eyed, two year old (who should make a nice three year old), for a four figure sum 🙂

Unsurprisingly, this expenditure got me curious about horses with partial blindness. There is no central data point to uncover listings of horses with this affliction, but I was able to compile the following listing of partially blind horses who had an impact on racing or breeding:

1. Dante (1942 Nearco ex Rosy Legend by Dark Legend).

Dante was the first Northern trained Derby winner since Pretender in 1869. He started suffering a decline in vision before the 2000 Guineas in which he was a narrow loser and was probably blind in his left eye at the time of that race. He was an unbeaten two year old, successful in the Coventry and Middle Park and the Guineas was his only defeat in 9 starts. He was being prepared for the St Leger but never ran again after the Derby.Dante enjoyed a good stud career (despite a relatively early death) with the likes of 2000 Guineas winner Darius and the Oaks winner Carozza to his credit.

2. Arctic Tern (1973 Seabird ex Bubbling Beauty by Hasty Road).
Arctic Tern came from the last crop of Sea Bird but came from a quality female line having Almahmoud as his grandam, a position she also occupied in the pedigrees of Northern Dancer and Halo. He was blind in his right eye but this did not impact on his racing career which saw him consistently competitive at the highest level. His 22 race career over three seasons saw him amass 4 victories with the highlight being a Group 1 victory to his credit in the 1977 Prix Ganay. He was also placed in that year’s Eclipse Stakes behind Artaius.
He did even better at stud, siring consecutive French Oaks winners in his first two crops (Harbour and Escaline), a Derby runner-up in Glacial Storm and best of all the outstanding Bering who would have been an undisputed champion most years but had the misfortune to be a contemporary of Dancing Brave.

3. Pollard’s Vision (2001 Carson City ex Etats Unis by Dixieland Band)
Pollard’s Vision was named after Ron Pollard best known these days as Seabiscuit’s one eyed jockey. A decent career saw him win the Grade II Illinois Derby and later finish runner up in the Pimlico Special. He made a big start to his stud career with the outstanding filly (and wonderfully named) Blind Luck (Pollard’s Vision ex Lucky One by Best of Luck) , being a member of his first crop. However, to date he has failed to sire anything comparable to Blind Luck.

4. Among the vision impaired fillies, The Dancer (1977  Green Dancer ex Khazaeen by Charlottesville ) won the May Hill Stakes and finished third to Bireme in the 1980 Oaks. At stud she produced a high class performer in Mack the Knife (by Kris) who finished runner up in the Racing Post Trophy.

5. Mention of Kris leads us neatly to Moon Cactus (1987 Kris ex Lady Moon by Mill Reef ) who came even closer to classic success having finished runner up in the French Oaks to Rafha (also by Kris and even more famous as the dam of Invincible Spirit and Kodiac). Moon Cactus did achieve stakes success in the Prestige Stakes and Sweet Solera Stakes .She proved a top class broodmare producing the 1995 Oaks winner Moonshell (by Sadler’s Wells) and her full brother the impressive 2004 King George winner Doyen. She had restricted vision in her left eye.

6. Among National Hunt horses Winning Fair (1955 by Fun Fair ex Winning Hazard by Atout Maitre) was only partially sighted but it didn’t prevent him from winning the 1963 Champion Hurdle. As a gelding Winning Fair obviously had no breeding legacy but his trainer was George Spencer who is the father of top jockey Jamie Spencer. Many punters have also questioned Jamie’s eyesight over the years :)….

7. Among current runners, the Aidan O’Brien trained Eye of the Storm (2010 Galileo ex Mohican Princess by Shirley Heights) won last year’s Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes.

Infirmities of old age often mean horses lose their sight but they can continue to have breeding success.  The outstanding stallion Monsun (Konigsstuhl ex Mosella by Surumu) was blind in the latter stages of his career as were a number of prominent broodmares. Among the celebrated broodmares who went blind in later life (which typically meant their foals wore a bell so that they knew of their presence) were Floripedes, the dam of Montjeu and Park Express the dam of New Approach. Lord Derby’s, Samanda who was blinded as foal became grandam of Ouija Board and Teleprompter.
Conclusion:

It’s easy to imagine that horses might have difficulties with tight right or left handed tracks depending on which eye was lost. Similarly, they might be at a disadvantage if challenged on their blindside. However each case is different and it is difficult to evaluate just how much of a handicap sight loss is to a horse. All we can say is that the above examples prove it is not an insurmountable obstacle. I suspect my horse is far more likely to fail from lack of speed than lack of sight in one eye, but I titled this piece blind optimism and I can only hope that I might soon be adding his name to the above list of notables.

 

 

Mawatheeq-far from the Height of Fashion

It’s probably a sign of old age, but I’m finding it harder to distinguish between many of the less famous Arabic named horses. Mawatheeq was one such horse (incidentally the name means treaty or treaties), however an impressive series of results for his progeny in recent weeks, had me revisiting the record books.  I suspect that given time, Mawatheeq will rise to a more prominent position in the stallion world from his current lowly position.

Recent Results

The table below show the last six runners by Mawatheeq all of whom finished first or second. It’s a brave or foolish person who ascribes too much significance to such a sequence in early season maiden races but it does offer hope of a profitable season. In particular Mulkeyya’s debut run at the Curragh was most promising. This 25 runner maiden was won by the 106 rated The Warrior, and Mulkeyya’s performance gave hope of black type before season’s end.

List of Mawatheeq’s Recent Runners in UK and Ireland

The performance of the three year old runners is in contrast to his first two year old runners in 2014, which consisted of only 2 winners (one in Italy and one in Hungary) for the season. In Britain there were no winners from 13 runners. However, bearing in mind his own race career and that his first book consisted of only 42 mares, that lack of success is less surprising.

Mawatheeq’s Race Record

The bare facts of Mawatheeq’s career are underwhelming,showing a solitary stakes win from a 9 race career. Trained by Marcus Tregonig, he was unraced at two (reportedly due to injury), won two of his four starts at three (a maiden and a handicap), before blossoming in the Autumn of his four year old career. After a disappointing four year old reappearance in April, he won a Doncaster handicap in September before making a big leap forward with an impressive victory in the 12 furlong Group 3 Cumberland Stakes. The upward trend continued when on his seasonal bow he finished runner up in the Champion Stakes to Twice Over. It wasn’t the strongest ever field for a Champion Stakes but he still had the likes of classic winners Sariska and Fame and Glory behind him. With such an improving profile, his five year old career promised much, but proved anti-climatic consisting of a solitary run, when well beaten in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes Stakes at Royal Ascot. A recurrence of his two year old injury, saw the end of his track career and he was retired to Shadwell Stud.

Stud Career and Sales

Mawatheeq’s initial stud fee was a modest £5000 which dropped to £4000 and is now listed as private (but not in the Galileo sense of the word- more the too embarrassed to disclose sense) so we know that the mares he was covering were a modest bunch. This lack of quality is reflected in a yearling average that was just over 6000 guineas for his first two crops. He has struggled for patronage possibly due to a bias against staying sons of Danzig,as conventional wisdom would have us believe that Danzig’s really good sire sons were sprinter/milers (eg Green Desert,Danehill, War Front). In the case of Mawatheeq there was no need for Shadwell to trumpet their restricted books as you can take it they didn’t need to turn away hordes of disappointed mare owners :). Incidentally the aforementioned Mulkeyya (ex Rifqah) might be one of the best bred mares that he covered being a descendant of Allegretta.

Pedigree

Mawatheeq’s pedigree is a match for any stallion’s. He is from the last crop of the great sire and sire of sires Danzig and his female line is dripping in black type.  His dam Sarayir (by Mr Prospector) was an unbeaten stakes winning two year old, rated highly enough to make her three year old reappearance in the 1000 Guineas. That she failed to add to her reputation at three hardly detracted from her paddock valley as she was a daughter of the Queen’s Height of Fashion. Height of Fashion was top rated British Two year old filly of 1981 with victories in the Fillies Mile, and May Hill Stakes to her credit and she added a Princess of Wales’s Stakes to her record at three (in which race she broke the track record held by her half brother Milford). She was sold for an undisclosed amount (but estimated at the time to be between 1.4 and 1.8 million) after the Princess of Wales’s Stakes to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, in whose colours she ran poorly in both the King George and Yorkshire Oaks. Ultimately though, she proved to be a real bargain for the Sheikh as she became the dam of dual classic winner Nashwan Gr1x4 (by Blushing Groom), Nayef G1X4(by Gulch), Unfuwain G2 (by Northern Dancer), Alwasmi G3 (by Northern Dancer) and Mukddaam L (by Danzig) all of whom had stud careers with varying degrees of success. This success was hardly surprising as Height of Fashion’s dam Highclere was herself a winner of a 1000 Guineas and French Oaks and Highclere’s grandam Hypercium also won the 1000 Guineas. Other branches of the family have provided the likes of Japanese superstar Deep Impact (a great grandson of Highclere).

Mawatheeq’s dam Sarayir did her bit for the family tradition by producing Ghanaati (by Giant’s Causeway) who also won the 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes. In addition she is the dam of Rumoush (by Rahy) who was a listed winner and a good third to Snow Fairy in the 2010 Oaks. This is undoubtedly one of the best family’s in the stud book.

Conclusion

As one of the last sons of Danzig from a stellar family, one might have thought that Mawatheeq would live up to his grandams name as the Height of Fashion. However his initial book of only 42 mares, despite a modest fee of £5000, tells you all about the market prejudice against late maturing types. In addition he didn’t correspond to the market expectation of a good Danzig sire being best at middle distances and standing 16 1 ½ . His solitary stakes success at no more than Group 3 level also counted against him. His results to date are still very modest with no stakes performers but the early results for his three year olds are relatively promising and it will be interesting to see if his offspring continue to improve with age. On pedigree he has everything you would like to see in a stallion and at such a lowly fee he might just prove a bargain for any patient breeders, not too concerned about the yearling market.

Mawatheeq’s Page

mawatheeq's pedigree

See below for a promotional video of Mawatheeq by Shadwell

 

 

Attack on the clones

There was some coverage in the Irish media last week of the cloning of former top showjumper Cruising http://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/other-sports/mary-mccann-confirms-she-has-two-cruising-clones-312555.html .

The owners are not acting outside the rules of the sport made by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) or of the Irish sports horse stud book but I don’t think either of those bodies can fully know the impact that cloning will have on that sport. When it comes to horse racing we will hopefully never allow cloning or it will utterly destroy the sport.

What’s wrong with cloning?

1. Cloning is not about looking to breed an improved racehorse, it is about recreating an existing top class horse. It is about sameness and predictability and the elimination of risk. It is about replacing the old maxim of ‘breeding the best to the best and hope for the best’ with a new maxim of ‘clone the best’. However it is the uncertainty of breeding that underpins the industry, if cloning was to become commonplace it would kill the industry it seeks to improve. Why get involved in the genetic lottery of current breeding? Who would use current stallions, the best of whom struggle to get 10% stakes winners when you can produce a horse guaranteed to be of similar genetic ability to a past champion? With uncertainty there also exists hope and it is  this hope that totally underpins the entire breeding industry and ensures that most foals will eventually find a buyer. Who would gamble on a modestly bred foal when they could buy a clone of Frankel? The breeding industry as we know it would collapse.

2. Horse racing is dependent on gambling for its survival. We don’t know the relative merits of horses until they are tried against each other under different conditions. With clones much of that uncertainty is removed as we already have a much better idea of horses maximum abilities, optimum trips and going preferences. There would initially be great interest in running a decade of cloned Derby winners against each other but ultimately we would have a much less diverse sport with the same clones running against each other after the question of the ultimate horse has been decided and the clones of same being the only logical choice for breeders. Once horse racing becomes too predictable its attractiveness to the public will fade.

Scientific breakthroughs are chipping away at the fundamentals of the sport. Genetic testing such as those offered by equinome.com are still in their infancy but in time will certainly improve to a predictive accuracy that outstrips any of us self-appointed pedigree or bloodstock ‘experts’. I am certain that artificial insemination (AI) will be allowed for thoroughbreds within the next two decades given its advantages in disease control. By itself AI is not a threat to the fundamentals of the sport once some measures such as the destruction of straws within an agreed period following the death of the stallion are implemented. Cloning is a completely different prospect and to my mind it was a mistake to allow it in showjumping and it would be a catastrophe for horse racing.

 

 

Stowaway found dead

Sad to hear of the death of Stowaway just prior to the start of the covering season. I wrote about him in detail back in 2011 in this article http://www.montjeu.com/archives/346.  For any mare owners now looking for a substitute jumps stallion from the Mill Reef line I would recommend Robin des Champs (Garde Royale ex Relayeuse by Iron Duke). His ability to  sire outstanding performers such as Quevega, Sir des Champs and Vautour means that it is worth taking a chance on his less than stellar fertility figures.